Junior Volunteer

We believe that building a more humane community begins with our youngest citizens. Volunteering at a young age instills character traits such as kindness, empathy, and responsibility. From caring for pets to animal safety and also learning how to prevent animal suffering, we want our younger generations to have a front seat and hands-on role providing hope to animals in our community.

So What is Junior Volunteering? 
Junior Volunteers is a youth volunteer program for ages 12-15. The program allows teens to earn volunteer hours and make a difference in their communityJunior volunteers must have  a parent or guardian volunteer with them at SFAHS until they reach the age of 16 . Once the Junior volunteer turns 16 they are allowed to participate in our adult program.  Parents and guardians that still need to sign up see the Registered Volunteer Page. Parents/ Guardians are responsible for the primary handling of animals and supervising their junior volunteers. Junior volunteers cannot volunteer alone and must have their parent or guardian present. Junior Volunteers can socialize with dogs in our designated play areas or walking trails, interact with cats in our private playrooms, or help with any cleaning that may be needed such as folding laundry, dusting, and tidying up animal kennels.

1. Must be 12 -15 years of age 
2. Must be able to volunteer at least 2 hours a month.
3. Must be able to volunteer a minimum of 6 consecutive months.  
4. Must have a parent or guardian volunteer with them

How do I Sign my Child up for Volunteering? 

1. Fill out the Jr Volunteer Application and and Adult Volunteer Application
Your applications will be reviewed, and if accepted, you will be contacted to proceed in the onboarding experience. 

2. Attend a Volunteer Information Session. 
Our staff will contact you to sign you and your child up for an information session. Information sessions cover basic policies, volunteer expectations, and gives a tour of the shelter.
The Information Session does not cover animal handling, but is a way for applicants to make sure volunteering is right for them. 

3.  Complete Hands-on training
The Adult and Junior volunteer will complete training sessions together.  Hands on training includes:

  • Animal Handling protocols 
  • How to safely approach and interact with shelter animals
  • Cleaning protocols 
  • Basic volunteer protocols.

4.  Complete Introduction to Enrichment Class
The Adult and Junior volunteer will complete training sessions together.  This class give you an intro to basic training, games and enrichment you can do with the animals. 

Once you have completed Hands-on Training & Introduction to Enrichment Class,  you are considered registered volunteers, and can start volunteering! Congrats!  

Notice: We are currently unable to accept volunteer applications at this time. We will start accepting applications summer of 2023.  

Frequently Asked Questions
How old do you have to be to be a junior volunteer?
Junior volunteers are eligible from age 12 until age 16 when they are able to become registered volunteers.
How many hours do junior volunteers need to commit to?
Junior volunteers must complete a minimum of 2 hours a month. You are welcome to complete as many as you wish! 
Do I have to volunteer with a parent or guardian?
Yes. The junior volunteer program is set up in a way so parents/guardians volunteer with junior volunteers. This makes for a great bonding activity while learning more about the shelter environment and training for when the junior volunteer can become an independent volunteer after they turn 16! Parents/guardians must go through application and orientation to become a registered volunteer.
Can I volunteer with another junior volunteer?
Yes, as long as at least one of the parents/guardians is also present. There is a limit of two junior volunteers per parent/guardian.
Can I volunteer with my sibling?
Yes, but your sibling must be over the age of 18 to be considered a parent/guardian figure. They must also have gone through the application and orientation process and be a registered volunteer. 
My child wants to volunteer in cat adopt, but I'm allergic. Can they still volunteer in the room alone?
No, they would not be able to volunteer in any adoption room without direct supervision. Parents or guardians must be with the junior volunteer at all times. They may volunteer with a sibling that is over 18 or an alternative guardian that has completed volunteer application and orientation if that is the case. 
My child is under 12, but very mature. Can they be a junior volunteer?
Unfortunately no, we cannot approve any applications for children under 12 to be apart of our junior volunteer program due to liability limitations. We also limit the age due to high demand, so that we can best serve those who are currently enrolled in the program.
Do you provide junior volunteer service groups?
No, unfortunately, we are not able to provide that service at this time due to liability limitations. We are able to do tours for small groups of children, but not service groups. 
My child wants to volunteer, but I am not able to become a registered volunteer. What now?
A guardian over the age of 18 is acceptable, as long as they complete the application and orientation process to become a registered volunteer. They must also sign a waiver stating that they are responsible for the junior volunteer while they are visiting the shelter. 
I can only volunteer in the summer. Can I still be a junior volunteer?
Currently, we are not able to offer a summer volunteer program. We ask for a 6-month commitment for volunteering to keep a stable and consistent volunteer base. You can complete hours at home during the school year as well by completing projects such a blanket making, making cat toys, etc. Reach out to our volunteer coordinator for more ideas on how to complete your hours during the school year!
I have a Child/Group of Children that wants to read to the animals. Can we come volunteer?
SFAHS does not have the facilities to provide reading groups. Registered JR Volunteers may read to the animals with their parent or guardian present, but we are unable to accommodate unregistered volunteers or   groups of minors. 

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